With rising fuel costs and increasing pressure to cut emissions, more fleet decision-makers are seriously considering moving towards alternative-fuelled vehicles and away from diesels.
According to research carried out by Lloyds TSB Autolease, which involved 262 personal interviews with decision makers from businesses with fleets in excess of 75 vehicles, the percentage of respondents looking to move towards alternative fuels has more than doubled since 2006, increasing from 10% to 21%.
Furthermore, three times more fleet decision-makers are planning to take action on this issue above any other.
However, while this attitude change is being voiced now, many fleets and lease companies still have a massive overexposure to diesel vehicles in their existing stock.
For example, 80% of Lloyds TSB Autolease’s new company vehicle orders are still for diesel vehicles.
This represents a huge change in buying patterns since 2003, when just two thirds of company vehicles (66%) were diesel.
But with the massive increase in the cost of diesel at the pumps and evidence from resellers that used car buyers are shunning diesel-powered vehicles in favour of smaller capacity petrol vehicles, there is concern that diesel vehicle residuals will suffer badly in the coming months.
Despite this, there is still a tempting argument for diesel-powered company vehicles.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of diesel vehicles being chosen by our customers.
"The most obvious reason is the effect on tax, which has really helped drive the popularity of this fuel,” said Marcus Puddy, head of fleet management at Lloyds TSB Autolease, said.